My news writing career began in the fall of 1986 at The Student Printz, the university’s student-run newspaper. My first assignment was in sports, covering the Golden Eagles swim team. It was then that I met Mike Giles, the team’s coach. I’ll never forget how helpful he was in providing me the info I needed, encouraging me to call him at home if I needed to get the latest results from the team’s out of town swim meets.
I didn’t know the swim jargon well, so covering the team was somewhat of a challenge for a green reporter. But I recall the swimmers always had the same cheery demeanor as their coach and were always willing to provide me with a comment or two, which made for a pleasant experience when chronicling the team’s performance.
On Thursday June 30, Giles hangs up his goggles and fins (I can’t resist, coach) for the last time as he retires from the university. He’s served Southern Miss in a variety of capacities, most recently as director of recreational sports. We’ll miss his infectious smile and sincere handshake, his service on multiple committees for the betterment of the university and local communities, and his support for strong recreational and varsity sports programs as an integral part of the college experience at Southern Miss.